Look, you won’t always have a scale to weigh yourself, but as we all know- your weight can be one of the best ways to determine your progress when it comes to anything fitness.
Even if you’re not losing weight, checking to see if you are GAINING weight can be critical in determining if you are eating enough to ensure you have adequate muscle growth.
And likewise, checking to see general body composition changes can be critical in making sure your efforts to lose weight are working!
So today, we will talk about how to weigh yourself without a scale! (Assuming that there is basically no way you can buy a scale off of Amazon)
Here’s how to weigh yourself without a scale:
- Check how your clothes fit over time.
- Look at progress photos over time.
- Use a measuring tape.
- Use a hand-held body-fat caliper.
- Measure bathtub displacement.
- Use a see-saw.
- Head into a store and try their scales.
- Head into a gym/school and look for a scale.
But, let’s cover this more in-depth and tell you exactly how to do it step by step.
The EASIEST Methods You Can Do Right Now
Here are the easiest methods you can do right now that will teach you how to weigh yourself without a scale.
Your Clothes Are a GREAT Way To Weigh Yourself Without a Scale
Now, I assume a lot of people reading this post may be new to weight loss. If you aren’t new to weight loss, you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about here.
Your clothes, are actually a GREAT way to weigh yourself without a scale.
This is actually one of the most exciting parts of losing weight. Even when I get done with my dirty bulk cycle and I lose weight, the excitement is still the same.
I’m telling you, those jeans that you can barely fit into, will literally need a super tight belt when you start losing weight seriously.
Right now as I’m writing this, I’m actually losing weight. I didn’t need a belt for my favorite pair of black jeans two months ago, and here I am once again finding my old belt from last year.
“I tell my clients not to get on a scale. Your jeans are a better indicator of your journey” – Elyse Kaye
Else Kaye, the CEO and founder of Bloom Bras, one of the most famous and revolutionary women’s sports bras says: “I tell my clients not to get on a scale. Your jeans are a better indicator of your journey”.
And she really is right. I mean, think about it, what if you started converting some of that fat into muscle by eating at a maintenance calorie level every day? Your weight on the scale wouldn’t drop, but your body would change drastically.
The fat in your hips would shred off, the muscle would develop elsewhere- but that number would stay the same! Your jeans really can tell you a lot more about your progress than you may have thought.
And even at the end of the day, most of us are trying to look better in/out of our clothes, not necessarily trying to reach a number on the scale.
Sometimes it may even take gaining weight and losing weight repeatedly in cycles until you reach that goal, and the number isn’t always a great reflection of that.
Compare Your Progress Photos!
People don’t know how important progress photos really are!
I’ve had so many clients that come to me saying, “I don’t look any different, I’m fed up, this isn’t working!”- then we retake another progress photo and compare them side by side, and their reaction is completely different when they see the true progress they’ve made.
Look, weight loss is incredibly slow. So slow that it is nearly physically impossible for you to notice it. Every day your body changes just a tiny tiny tiny bit, which makes your brain not recognize that change. That change is so slow and unnoticeable that you will barely notice it.
It isn’t until you compare these photos that you can truly see side by side how much progress you’ve made!
The Experts at Auro Recommend Taking LOTS of Progress Photos!
Auro, the #1 Fitness and Wellness app, shared this: “By taking weekly photos from the beginning of your fitness journey, you’ll begin to see changes in your body that reflect in your appearance. You should also take four main pictures and all ideally full length if possible; front on, side on RS, side on LS and back.”.
And I agree completely, don’t just take one photo, take one from multiple angles.
Fat loss can be very difficult to spot if you just have one photo. Honestly, a lot of the times, your stomach fat is going to be the last fat that goes. So, if you only take photos of your belly fat, you might never see progress even 10-12 weeks into your weight loss journey!
Meanwhile, if you had taken MANY photos, you would notice that you lost a TON of fat in your face, arms, legs, hips, etcetera- and you’d realize how far you’ve really come.
Take The Photos BEFORE Eating/Drinking!
Auro also said, “Try to always take the picture in the morning before you eat or drink anything and at the same time every week. The reason for this is because after a meal or after you start drinking water, you may appear bloated due to water retention”.
Also, I had a client do the exact same thing and feel like he lost all of his progress.
Get this: He drunk a ton of pre-workout mixed with water and ate before his work out (he was coming off of an 8-hour shift at work) and the scale said he gained 11 lbs! He thought it was over, he thought weight loss was impossible- that was, until I told him that by tomorrow all of that will be sweated away and his progress will be normal.
Yep, that’s right. Eating and drinking can seriously mess with the number on the scale AND your appearance.
If I eat a lot of food that makes me bloated, it looks like I’ve gained 15 lbs! Then, when I sleep and wake up in the morning, my abs are there again.
So, be careful before taking these photos, and make sure you’re taking them at the right times.
You Can Guestimate Pretty Well How Much Weight You’ve Lost
Honestly, progress photos typically did more for me than a number on the scale as I started my bodybuilding journey.
I originally started bodybuilding in 9th grade, and I was still growing a lot in height- which would make relying on a scale number completely inaccurate!
And for some of us that work full-time jobs or are stressed, these numbers can be inaccurate due to your body’s hormones holding water weight or food at bad times.
Honestly, these progress photos can do a lot more for you in guessing your weight loss. You can also do a pretty good job guessing the body fat percentage too.
That’s what a lot of folks over at reddit.com/r/BulkOrCut do! They try and have other people estimate their body fat percentage using their progress photos, and you can get a fairly decent estimate with it.
Even I look back at my progress photos and go, “Well, I may have gained weight on the scale because I had a growth spurt, but over the Spring 2019 year I overall lost 5-7 lbs of fat and gained 3-4 lbs of muscle”.
Even when I didn’t track my weight and measurements precisely, I can still look at some photos and go, “Well, I lost around 6 lbs in Winter, and went down to 12% Body Fat based on the body changes”.
I’m telling you guys that comparing these photos can be a game-changer and this is an expert way to weigh yourself without using a scale.
Now, this is a pretty old-fashioned way to weigh yourself without a scale, but it’s one of my favorite.
All famous bodybuilders use measuring tape all the time. In fact, most of them (myself included)((of course, I’m the most famous bodybuilder in the world!)) write down the size of our arms, legs, torso, hips, etcetera to determine our progress.
Now, this is mainly if you’re trying to gain muscle and you want to see how well your progress is going, but it can be great when you’re losing weight too.
In fact, the US Navy uses the measuring tape method to determine body fat percentage (this way they can make sure the sailors are physically in shape).
Here’s what the experts at Auro, the #1 fitness and wellness app, had to say: “If you have a goal to lose a few inches of the hips or gain some muscle around your biceps, you can always turn to the trusty measuring tape.
We’d suggest only focusing on this monthly as opposed to weekly.
You can keep a diary of your measurements and see how these improve over the coming months. Although we’d avoid using this as a sole method for indicating success. The progress shots will always be number 1!”
How To Use The Measuring Tape (Waist Inches Lost into Lbs Lost)
Many people don’t actually know that the number of inches you lose off your waist can generally correlate to pounds lost.
While this isn’t always an exact science, you can use this to get a good guess of how much weight you’ve lost or gained.
Have you ever heard the saying, “To put an inch on your arms, you need to gain 15 lbs?”- well the same can be said for the hips, except for roughly 10 lbs.
It is estimated that every inch off your waist is 10 lbs lost or so. Now, the numbers can range from 7-14 lbs, but a good rule to follow is 10.
Now, obviously things can be a little different depending on if you’re bloated, stressed, tired- whatever.
But if you aren’t able to weigh yourself for a long time (maybe at a summer camp or something?) and you notice you’ve lost about a half-inch of your waist, you can generally guess you’ve lost about 5 pounds.
Also, this isn’t a foolproof method, as your waist can only get so small. This method is best suited if you have a lot of body fat on you and not so much for the already smaller people.
You Don’t Have to Measure ONLY Your Waist
I know some of you just said, ‘well, there’s not really a point in weighing my waist’. And for some people, that’s how it is. I know many people that can lose weight and their waist size doesn’t really change.
I’m often the same way until I hit 14% body fat or higher, anything under that and my waist size just won’t change. So, there isn’t a huge point for me to do it.
That doesn’t mean that this method is useless, however.
You can actually measure a lot of different places on your body to determine your weight loss. For instance, your legs, arms, chest area, stomach/naval area, feet, ankles, are all perfect places to measure over time and determine some of that fat loss.
If you’re in a higher body fat percentage, you might notice that a lot of fat is stored in your ankle area. Measuring this area can help you determine over time if some of your early fat loss is working. And this can honestly be a better indicator of healthier fat loss too.
Use Hand-Held Body-Fat Calipers
Most people don’t actually know that there are hand-held body-fat calipers that literally measure your body fat – and they’re incredibly simple to use.
You literally just pinch in different spots of your body, write down the measurements, do some simple math, and you’ll have a great estimation of body fat.
Now, this typically isn’t going to be for trying to guess your specific weight right then but is more of a tool to try and guess how much you’ve changed since your last weigh-in.
Converting That Into Body Fat and Guesstimating Your Weight
Our friends at Fitt for Change said, ‘You can purchase a hand held device or a more accurate pinching instrument that will give you this reading. After you measure your body fat percentage you can convert that number into pounds of fat. For example, if you weigh 100 pounds and your body fat is 20% you have 20 pounds of fat and 80 pounds of lean mass.’
Now, you can actually use this to base some of your weight loss using your old measurements.
Here’s How You Do It
***WARNING: Bro science ahead. This is really something you’ll just have to trust me on.
So let’s say 5-6 weeks ago you weighed 150 lbs. And let’s also assume your diet has been pretty consistent and you’ve been trying to lose about 1 lb a week, you’re in about a 500-600 calorie deficit and things have been going steady.
Now, take the tool, measure your body fat percentage in the way mentioned above, and now we gotta do some more math.
So, let’s assume the tool gave you an average body fat percentage of 12% now when you estimate you used to be 15% body fat. (Now, if your body fat percentage increases, you can guess that you gained weight)
Now that it has dropped down by 1%, you can infer that you have lost 5 lbs of fat because it makes sense with the rest of your weight.
3% of 150 lbs is roughly 4.5 lbs, and since your diet has been consistent and your fat loss has been consistent, you can roughly estimate that things went well and you can now make a different base assumption about your weight.
Now, if suddenly your body fat has spiked or hasn’t really changed, you may want to retest when you’re not as bloated or consider looking at your diet again.
The Advanced Methods
Here are some advanced methods teaching you how to weigh yourself without a scale.
The Bathtub Method (Easier)
The bathtub method is for the people that want a fairly easy method to weigh themselves that can be done when you take your bath at night.
Here’s what Asmat Khan, Head of PR at FitnessVolt.com said: ‘In the water displacement method, you’ll submerge yourself completely in the bathtub, naked, while a third-party marks the level of the water with a marker.’
It sounds pretty simple on paper honestly, but I personally don’t like the method as it reminds me of a Chemistry lab in high school where you have to take the mL and do a bunch of complicated math.
Now, you have two main methods of doing this:
- You can measure the change over time
- OR you can try and convert some of the displacement into mass (not super accurate)
You Can Measure The Change Over Time
You could do this measurement weekly and compare the change in the bathtub. If the overall displacement increases, then you know you gained weight. If the overall displacement decreases, you’d know you’ve lost weight.
You would ideally want to do this measurement weekly and compare it over a longer period of time.
While it’s certainly not the most accurate method, it is one way of getting the job done.
You Can TRY To Convert Some Displacement Into Mass Using Complicated Math, But It’s Not Super Accurate.
Now, this is a sketchier method, so I’m not sure if it’s even worth your time. But, alas, it’s something I tried, so I figured I would give you the option if you wanted it.
One way you could do it is like this:
- Divide your weight in lbs by 2.2 and convert your weight to Kilograms.
- It is assumed by many that if you displace 50 liters of water, you weigh around 50 kilograms.
- You could go by the rule that if you displace 65 liters of water, then you weigh around 65 kilograms.
However, note that this method isn’t always the most accurate. But, it is a pretty decent baseline, especially if you don’t have a scale around for a long time.
The See-Saw Method (PERFECT IF YOU HAVE FREE WEIGHTS!)
A lot of people trash on the see-saw method for weighing yourself. But, it’s honestly perfect if you have free weights!
Here’s what Asmat Khan, head of PR for FitnessVolt.com said:
‘The see-saw (or fulcrum) method is slightly more practical than water displacement, but not by much, and still has way too many pitfalls and far too much room for error.
In this one, the idea is to sit at one end of a lever, or see-saw, while loading several known weights at the other end.
When the see-saw reaches equilibrium, simply count the weight on the other side.’
Free Weights Can Seriously Make This One of The BEST Options
Now, honestly, at first, this may seem like a bad idea. Even as Asmat Khan said, “This kind of sounds doable, but upon further examination, is not particularly feasible.
If you weigh 180 pounds, you’ll have to load over 20 full cans of paint on a public see-saw.”
But, if you’re a bodybuilder or fitness freak, you might literally have enough weight laying around! For instance, if you have a power rack set at home you’ll probably have 300-400 lbs lying around.
Now, you can bring these free weights to a see-saw and sit on the other end and actually get a very accurate reading of your weight.
Now, it’s not always perfect because there are things to account for like the material of the see-saw, if there’s another weight, etc. But, it can be a pretty good choice.
Personally, for me, I try to do most of my workouts at a park since most parks have a pull-up bar and a good running track. But, most parks ALSO have a see-saw. So, it worked out well when the gyms were closed for me personally.
(I didn’t have a scale as weird as that sounds)
But, if you don’t have free weights, things get a lot more complicated… You could try using those big bags of water softener salt, or even like bags of soil if you have any lying around. Otherwise, you probably won’t have the weight to do it.
Okay, doing these methods may not be for everyone. Luckily, there are some legit alternative methods that you can probably get away with depending on what strings you can pull.
Head In To a Local Gym (Membership or “Tour” The Place)
Alright, I’m not gonna lie. I hate the way most gyms operate. Most gym administrators are incredibly slimey, rude, predatory, you get the gist. I see no problem with ANYBODY going in there and “touring” the place for a free scale tour.
And look, I’m not saying that these people can’t eat. And I have found super nice gym owners that I respect dearly (and I ONLY go to one gym because of it), but we all have to agree that a lot of gym owners are horrible people, and it’s not acceptable.
So, we gotta stick it to the big man. Most gyms offer free tours anyway and you can just get your weight taken there.
Or, if you use a method like Active & Fit Direct, the thing that gives you a gym membership virtually anywhere for $25/month, you can get your weight done and a solid gym membership for pretty cheap.
Try a CVS/Walgreens
CVS/Walgreens are basically like mini-clinics/pharmacies. And well, most of them have a clinic built in.
Oftentimes these places will have a scale for you to try next to the blood pressure sensor. You may have to look in the bathrooms near the clinics to find it.
Although, your mileage may vary. The one by me doesn’t have anything for a scale, but I also live in the middle of nowhere farmland America.
Go To Walmart/Target/Local Grocery Store and Test a Scale
Your mileage may also vary on this one. If I were you, it’s best to try this at a walmart or a bigger department store, I wasn’t able to do this at Target.
This can also get complicated since a lot of scales come in boxes that are basically like a Rubix cube to open, so it really depends.
But, you might be able to get away with opening a box and testing the scale with approval of a worker to see if you like it. I don’t think many workers would really mind.
Your School May Have a Scale
When I started lifting back in my ol’ high school days, I had no idea that my school had a scale I could use.
You’d honestly be surprised that if you’re in high school, college, whatever- they probably will have a scale somewhere you can use.
- Hint: As a former wrestler, I recommend checking the wrestling room. You might be surprised to find more than one scale!
Also, you could try going to the school nurse, they may have a scale there. Now, in my experience school nurses are either completely chill people or rapid crazy. Just be nice and polite and just kindly ask for one, you might be surprised.
Try Going To One of Those ‘Fitness-Guru’ Local Shops in Town
Alright, you know what I’m talking about. The ones where they sell those expensive protein shakes for like $15 for 3 oz?
You might want to try going to one of those fitness guru shops in town. They’ll probably have a scale there and even try to sell you into ‘starting your own business’ (but avoid their MLM scams).
But honestly, there might be a legit like healthy place in your town that has a scale. Think of maybe like a yogurt shop or something or like a simple fitness hang out. They’re rare, but some places will have those ‘healthy get fit’ shops that are selling organic foods or whatever, and they might be able to help you out.
Methods That DON’T Work
I would hate to see any of my readers get scammed by a stupid weight measuring method. And trust me, I’ve tried to do stupid methods of weighing things.
So, please don’t try any of these methods listed, they don’t work and they just waste your time.
Don’t Use a Phone App
Honestly, at first, these phone apps may not seem like a bad idea. With how far mobile smart phones have come, it wouldn’t be any surprise that they can weigh some stuff.
But honestly, they’re very inaccurate apps that barely work. When you consider how fragile your phone balance is, your phone case, and EVEN IF you want to say the sensors are accurate, your phone just isn’t capable of weighing things right now.
Weighing things is much, much more complicated than it has to be because of gravity and any slight movement/imbalance can throw the entire thing off.
You’re better off just buying a scale at that rate instead of wasting money on an app that won’t work.
Having Your ‘Strong’ Friend Pick You Up
I’ve seen some things in my life, and some of those things involve my friends trying to literally bench press eachother to see how strong they are.
No offense, it just isn’t worth your time. You run a huge risk of injuring yourself or your buddy, and it just isn’t an accurate assessment.
When you try and bench press your friends, the weight isn’t evenly distributed and it’s a lot different since they’re not dead weight (well, hopefully…).
So, avoid the injury, as it’s not even accurate.
Also, Sometimes You Just Need to Focus On Losing The Weight, NOT The Scale!
Honestly, sometimes you just need to focus on losing the weight, not the scale.
It’s a mistake I see a lot of people make when they start out- just constantly checking the scale every single day even multiple times a day.
Ultimately, this will ruin your progress and you’ll start to doubt yourself.
As Lynn Gantner, a holistic aging coach says, “The best way to weigh yourself without a scale is to forget about weight entirely until your next physical exam with the doctor!
Instead, focus on eating healthy whole-food plant-foods, enjoyable activities that get you moving, get a good night’s sleep, and drink plenty of water.
Focus on healthy habits rather than weight and eventually, there will be no worry about weight because you will have reached a healthy weight for you and feel healthy and fit.”
And honestly, she’s right. Just get a plan to lose weight, work hard at it, and you’ll see the results.
So that is how to weigh yourself without a scale. Honestly, it just sounds better to buy a scale yourself off of Amazon, but I wrote this with the idea in mind that you didn’t have that option.
When I was younger I didn’t really have money for a scale, and all my food went to more food and the gym membership so I had to find some ways around it.
Hopefully this advice helps. Tell me in the comments below the methods you’ve used to weigh yourself without a scale, and it might just get added to this post!